Cinderford 34 Canterbury 12
by David Haigh
Canterbury’s season ended as it began, with defeat at the hands of a strong and efficient Cinderford who were already crowned National 2 South champions.
It was perhaps asking too much of the city side to repeat the outstanding form of the previous week with four of the back division which decimated Chinnor absent through injury.
That, however, takes nothing away from Cinderford whose consistency has made them worthy title winners and here they made the point by controlling the second half.
The first 40 minutes saw the home side establish a narrow lead through tries from Harry Home and Reuben Norville while the City men were frustrated by a team of officials who penalised them at every opportunity.
Canterbury were also guilty of passing up an early scoring chance at an attacking line-out but they competed well at the breakdown, turned over ball at crucial times and were still in contention at the interval
The game slipped away from them in the opening 10 minutes of the new half when the penalties continued to rain down and Cinderford cashed in with well organised catch and drive scores for hooker Nathan Taylor and a second for Hone.
The loss of Tom Best to a yellow card was another blow but he was soon followed by the home side’s James Elliott and Canterbury began to mount serious pressure.
A charged down kick saw flanker Vaughn Meredith get the city side on the scoreboard, with Alex Miller adding the goal points but Canterbury’s willingness to keep the ball moving then cost them dearly.
Jimmy Williams snapped up a loose pass and sprinted 40 metres for a try converted by half back partner James Moffatt.
Although that left them 20 points adrift the city side were not quite finished, creating a try for wing Kieran Thompson after Matt Corker made the initial running.
But this was Cinderford’s day and they capped it when wing Kai Little gathered a kick and blasted through mid-field before handing Roger Birkin a late, converted try to underline his team’s champion credentials.
Canterbury: A.Miller, K.Thompson, JJ Murray, K.Braithwaite, H.Sayers, T.Best, D.Smart, A.Cooper (repl J.Green), T.Rogers (repl J.Otto), A.Wake-Smith, R.Cadman, M.Corker, A.Woodward (repl E.White), V.Meredith, L.Woodbridge (repl C.Townley).